What Is a Daybed? This Convertible Seating Is a Worthy Home Addition

The perfect mix between a bed and a sofa, a daybed offers both storage and convenient sleep space.

White room with gray daybed and pastel artwork

John Stoffer

A daybed is one of the most multifunctional items you can have in your home. Infinitely practical, a daybed can be used for various purposes, including extra seating, sleeping, and storage. Thanks to their versatility and functionality, they're a timeless furniture piece.

Daybeds are available in multiple styles and shapes, and are customizable to suit personal preferences. When shopping for a daybed, it helps to know the difference between a daybed and a sleeper sofa, as well as the types and sizes that best fit your home. Here's everything you need to know to find the right one for you.

What Is a Daybed?

A daybed is a versatile piece of household furniture that's a hybrid between a sofa and a single twin bed. It serves the purpose of both a bed and a couch. It is typically a cross between a chaise lounge and a bed, consisting of solid wood or metal frames and an upholstered mattress. Daybeds are traditionally the size of twin beds but can be custom-made to fit other mattress sizes. Most can accommodate a 38" by 75" twin-size mattress.

Daybeds are ideal for smaller spaces or multi-purpose rooms, such as offices, guest rooms, basements, terraces, patios, and kids’ rooms.

One of the distinguishing features of a daybed is that it has a frame on three sides: the headboard, footboard, and backboard, which runs the entire length of the bed. Thus, they offer space for sitting, relaxing, and snoozing. You can also incorporate thick pillows for back support and added coziness.

Farmhouse style sitting room

James Nathan Schroder

How Do Daybeds Differ from Beds and Sofas?

The main difference between a daybed and a traditional bed or sofa is its functionality. Beds, for the most part, are for solely used for sleeping, while sofas are for wakeful lounging. Daybeds serve both purposes.

Another difference between a daybed and a typical bed is that the daybed has a frame on three sides, while beds have only two: the headboard and the footboard.

Compared to traditional sofas, daybeds are typically smaller in size. They are also different from sofabeds, which still look like traditional couches, except that a folded spring bed is retractable from under the seat cushions. A daybed is also deeper than a sofabed, and its frame might be metal, making it look more like a bed than a normal sofa.

Types of Daybeds

When buying a daybed, considerations include the room's layout and size, the style or design of the bed, frame and mattress materials, and cost. There are various types of daybeds, including the following standard versions.

Daybed with storage: Some daybeds have built-in under-bed storage space, including drawers and shelving. You can use this space to store throw pillows, blankets, or extra clothes. Some even have shelving behind the frames for extra storage.

Outdoor daybed: If you love lounging poolside, reading on a terrace, or spending long hours outdoors, an outdoor daybed is ideal. It provides extra lounge space compared to traditional outdoor furniture. These daybeds are typically made from waterproof material so that they won't be damaged by the elements.

Simple or open daybed: Simple daybeds only have a frame with a mattress, and the space underneath the legs is empty, giving an open, airy look. They are ideal if you want a simple, streamlined feel. You can add storage boxes or bins underneath the frame.

Trundle daybed: There are two types of trundle daybeds: pop-up and drawer. A pop-up trundle bed has an additional mattress underneath that can be pulled out and adjusted to the same height as the daybed. A drawer trundle daybed has a pullout drawer under the frame that houses another mattress. The drawer slides out to create extra sleeping space. However, the drawer cannot be lifted to the same height as the daybed, so the second bed stays on the floor, creating a condensed bunk bed look. Either way, trundles are perfect for guests and sleepovers. The trundle provides more sleeping options without permanently taking up extra floor space. When guests leave, it can be returned to its original sofa size.

Upholstered daybed: This daybed is easily customized via the upholstery. Choose an upholstery design and material that complements the room's style and your sleep comfort preferences. Also, button tufting or nailhead trim can give your daybed a classic feel, easily fitting into traditional homes.

Wooden daybeds: These daybeds are made from solid wood and have a sleek, clean look. They easily fit into any design style, from traditional to contemporary to modern. Add throw blankets and plush pillows to soften the appearance of hardwood.

Pros and Cons of a Daybed

The primary advantage of daybeds is that they are multifunctional. They easily convert from sleeping beds to lounge seating, and they can also hold additional storage. Because they are compact, they fit well in an office or guest bedroom.

The main disadvantage of daybeds is that they have size limitations. Unless you choose a pop-up trundle, the bed is likely no bigger than a twin bed. This makes it suitable only for small spaces and short-term guests. Also, they need to be properly situated against a wall or a corner because they typically have a high back.

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